Special roles of rural primary care and family medicine in improving vaccine hesitancy

Adv Clin Exp Med. 2023 Apr;32(4):401-406. doi: 10.17219/acem/162349.


Family medicine plays a crucial role in overcoming vaccine hesitancy in rural areas with a limited access to healthcare services and a higher prevalence of vaccine hesitancy. Competent information on diseases and vaccinations provided in a trusting relationship is important to overcome vaccination hesitancy and reach acceptance. This article aims to provide a critical analysis of this issue using methodologically rigorous research and evidence-based recommendations from nonsystematic literature research. Studies on the coronavirus pandemic conducted in South Tyrol, Italy, confirmed that vaccination hesitancy is more common in rural areas than in urban areas, even in economically well-developed Central European regions. The reason for this increased hesitancy is that groups with at-risk sociodemographic characteristics associated with hesitancy are more prevalent in rural areas. This fact assigns a special role to rural primary care and family medicine to be the mediators of vaccinations. Healthcare systems should invest in targeted continuing medical education to promote vaccination literacy among rural healthcare workers and physicians. Therefore, it is important to provide general practitioners with information on common vaccinations. Effective and efficient communication techniques should be improved for successful communication with patients.

Keywords: prevention; primary care; rural medicine; vaccine hesitancy.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Family Practice*
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccination Hesitancy